I think it is fair to say that, when it comes to the food we eat, the mindset that cheaper and faster is better is detrimental to us. Indeed, we are witnessing how fast and processed foods have led to an epidemic of obesity and diabetes in the United States. In addition to that, we are depleting nutrients in the soil and water resources. One can argue that in today’s world, it is difficult to find the time to cook everyday, or that fresh foods can be costly but it need not be. After all, what could be more important than taking time to nourish ourselves and our families? I think the benefits extend far beyond the dinner table.
Asparagus Risotto with Ramp Pesto
1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
2/3 cup olive oil
4 Tbsp. Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 tsp. sea salt
1 onion, chopped
2 cups arborio or vialone nano rice
1/2 cup white wine
2 bunches asparagus, cut into 1/2” pieces
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup ramp cooking water
1 cup Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1/4 cup heavy cream
MAKE THE PESTO
- 1.Cut the greens from the ramps and blanch in a large pot of boiling, salted water until just wilted.
- 2. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.
- 3. Chop the remaining parts of the ramps.
- 4. Combine ramp greens, chopped ramps, toasted walnuts, olive oil, cheese and salt in a blender and blend to a smooth paste.
*If ramps are no longer in season, you can substitute scallions, garlic, garlic scapes or some combination of the three.
MAKE THE RISOTTO
- 1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent.
- 2. Add rice and stir until well coated with butter.
- 3. Add wine and cook until fully absorbed. Start adding stock in 1/2 cupfuls. Cook for 12-15 minutes.
- 4. Add asparagus pieces and continue adding stock until rice is tender, and additional 8-10 minutes.
- 5. Add ramp pesto and stir well.
- 6. Add parmesan and cream and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
Almond, Lemon and Olive Oil Cake
I am not a big fan of baking but I do love my afternoon tea accompanied by a slice of tea cake. This recipe – adapted from Dorie Greenspan – has become one of my favorites.
1/3 cup pastry flour
1/3 cup corn flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup olive oil
7 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
1 cup evaporated cane juice
2 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9”x5” loaf pan.
- 2. Combine hazelnut flour, pastry flour, corn flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and mix well. Combine olive oil and melted butter in another bowl.
- 3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until light and thick. Add lemon zest and juice.
- 4. Add dry ingredients to egg and sugar mixture and mix until just combined. Then add olive oil and butter mixture. Pour into loaf pan.
- 5. Bake 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
I recently travelled to GREECE with my family. Here are some pictures from my trip.